Fall is finally here! But what do you do with all the brightly-colored autumn leaves and summer growth now faded?
Fall leaves can cause damage to lawns and storm water drains if not properly mulched, composted or disposed of. Blowing or raking leaves into the street causes problems for you, your neighbors and the city if storm water drains get clogged and cannot adequately drain rain water. Make sure to rake up and clear the area around ditches and storm drains. If you have a neighborhood association, remind your neighbors to keep the area around the neighborhood drains clear of debris and trash. Whatever goes into storm water drains goes directly into our city’s streams and rivers.
Storm water drains clogged with Fall leaves and other trash can cause flooding and other road hazards.
Fallen leaves, what professionals call “leaf litter,” accumulate under trees can suffocate grass and other plantings. Here are four easy options to properly dispose of your fallen splendor. All you need is a rake or electric blower, a battery-powered lawnmower, biodegradable paper lawn and leaf bags, and a few helping hands.
1) Once the fun of jumping in leaf piles is over, you can use your electric lawnmower to shred leaves into mulch size pieces that then can be spread over flowerbeds to provide nutrients all winter.
2) Another option is to collect the mulched leaves and add them to your compost. Add fresh cut grass or a compost activator to get the compost pile cooking! For more information on composting go to the Metro Public Works site. If you don’t have a composter (or want to start your holiday shopping early), you can purchase one at the Omohundro Convenience Center.
3) Residents in Metro Nashville’s Urban and General Services Districts can have their brush and yard waste collected at no charge. For Fall and Winter pick-up dates see the 2017-2018 schedule. All leaves must be bagged in biodegradable paper bags for collection. You can purchase biodegradable paper lawn and leaf bags at your local grocery or hardware store. Metro will not pick up yard waste in plastic bags. Remember that you can always take your bagged leaves to one of Metro Nashville’s drop off sites.
4) If you want to give back to your community, non-profits like The Nashville Food Project (TNFP) would love to use your bagged leaves to feed their gardens. TNFP invites residents to drop off bagged leaves and pine needles at their Wedgwood Urban Garden. For more specific information go to https://www.thenashvillefoodproject.org/contact/ or call 615-460-0172.
Please protect our waterways and your property by properly disposing of leaves. Most importantly, have fun. Happy Fall, from Socket!
Nothing empowers a team more than explaining the benefits of all their hard work. So when General Services Director Nancy Whittemore started implementing new procedures for the department – share mini-refrigerators, use the recycling bins, even eliminate unessential small appliances (e.g., coffee warmers) – she was sure to add the ever-necessary “Why?”
Part of the reason for the sustainability efforts within General Services came down from the city of Nashville.
“The [city] council passed legislation that all new buildings and rehabilitated buildings over $500,000 had to be LEED silver,” Whittemore explained.
Then, when General Services was challenged with the construction and design end of building operations, they were in the position to green the entire process.
This, plus the creation of the 2009 Green Ribbon Report at the time, made sustainability a driving force for the department. Soon after, General Services started using sustainable resources for its building construction. Bamboo, a renewable resource that regrows much faster than traditional hardwoods, was used for floors instead of tree-based wood. Recycled milk cartons were used for dividers in restrooms.
And many buildings had automatic light sensors installed so energy wouldn’t be used when no one was in the room. But when employees didn't understand why these new procedures would benefit them, Whittemore and her team had to come up with a plan.
And Socket was born.
"We believe if people understand what we’re trying to do then people will start doing the right thing," said Whittemore.
A source to disseminate the information behind these green decisions was essential. Whittemore met with Ameresco Inc., an independent provider of comprehensive energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions for facilities. Their meeting led to an “A-ha” moment, according to Whittemore. “We love trying to figure out how you strategize to get people to buy in,” she said.
Their previous efforts – email correspondence, an updated website – didn’t turn on the city’s employees. With the Socket program, employees can understand why it’s important General Services continues to do what it does in the name of sustainability. “We’ve gone from being like the facility police to engaging our community of customers,” said Whittemore.
Socket is the outreach program of General Services and is now housed within the new Sustainability Division. Socket provides a platform for the department to convey its sustainability message with the use of Socket the mascot, the website, blog, newsletter, digital kiosks and other hi-tech touches.
“If people don’t know, we can’t expect them to understand it,” said Whittemore.
Through the Socket program, employees and Nashville visitors alike can learn about the city’s LEED facilities and how to live and work in more sustainable ways.
“This is an opportunity for us to tell our story,” said Whittemore. “We can showcase not only what General Services is doing but the mayor as well. There is so much going on in this city.”
Several buildings under General Services’ charge also have electric car power stations and bike racks to promote cleaner transportation options.